Virgin Atlantic’s has suspended its “Little Red” short-haul flights between London Heathrow and Manchester as of late March 2015. Virgin Atlantic “Little Red” will continue to fly between London Heathrow and Aberdeen and Edinburgh until Saturday 26 September 2015.
The winding down of Virgin Atlantic’s short-lived UK domestic operation “Little Red” has started with the London Heathrow – Manchester route now suspended, some two years after it first launched.
Virgin Atlantic’s “Little Red” operation will continue to fly from London Heathrow to Aberdeen and Edinburgh three and six times daily until Saturday 26 September 2015.
It’s also worth adding that holders of Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles can redeem their miles for Virgin Little Red flights from 7,500 miles. Flying Club members can also earn bonus miles on Little Red flights.
What will happen to the “Little Red” Heathrow slots?
Some of the slots used by Little Red were from Virgin Atlantic’s existing slot portfolio, so some will revert back to Virgin Atlantic.
Many of the slots (at least nine) were forfeited by British Airways as a consequence of the acquisition of bmi by its parent company, International Airlines Group.
The trustee appointed to oversee the release of slots has re-advertised the slots. The deadline for applications is 2 April 2015.
If there is no bidder, the slots will revert back to British Airways.
There are no obvious candidates for the slots. However, a potential candidate would be easyJet if it felt inclined to launch flights at Heathrow to support its increased targeting of the business market.
Virgin Atlantic has commenced Boeing 787 passenger flights today (Tuesday 28 October 2014) with its inaugural flight from London Heathrow to Boston.
Flight VS11 departed London Heathrow for Boston Logan International Airport shortly after its scheduled departure time of 17:35. Virgin also operated a test flight from London Gatwick to Atlanta on Friday 24 October, which is pictured below.
Whilst today marks the official launch of passenger flights for the Boeing 787, according to Airline Route the 787 will not operate from 31 October to 14 November to allow for crew familiarisation flights.
The replacement of quad-engine Boeing 747s and Airbus A340s at London Heathrow with the twin-engine Boeing 787 is cited as a significant step in restoring Virgin Atlantic to profitability, together with its nascent transatlantic joint-venture with Delta Air Lines. Virgin Atlantic originally ordered 15 Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, with options for 8 aircraft and purchase rights for a further 20 aircraft.
Virgin Atlantic has announced the closure of “Little Red” short-haul flights from London Heathrow. Flights to Manchester will cease on Saturday 28 March 2015 and flights to Aberdeen and Edinburgh will cease on Saturday 26 September 2015.
The business section of today’s Sunday Times leads with a story (subscription required) that Virgin Atlantic is to close its “Little Red” domestic operation from London Heathrow to Manchester, Aberdeen and Edinburgh.
Virgin Atlantic has announced a significant over-haul of its network, suspending a number of non-US routes. Mumbai & Tokyo are suspended from 31 January 2015. Seasonal flights to Vancouver & Cape Town are suspended from 11 October 2014 and 26 April 2015.
Virgin Atlantic has today launched a sale across its worldwide network for bookings made by 23 September 2014.
The sale applies to all three of Virgin Atlantic’s cabins, economy, premium economy, and Upper Class and to destinations from both London Gatwick and London Heathrow.
Not all cabins are available on sale for every destination. There are a number of exclusions from premium economy (Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco for example). There are no published sale fares for US destinations in Upper Class.
New York is available in economy from £399 on limited flights and days of the week. Boston and Miami are available from £459. Chicago and Los Angeles are available from £479.
Also, travel dates vary by destination and cabin. In most cases, fares are on sale for travel up to either March or June 2015, with a pre-Christmas travel blackout.
BA is likely to follow suit shortly and BA’s fares can be compared using the BA Low Price Finder.
Edited: Please note that since the launch of this sale Virgin Atlantic has announced the suspension of Tokyo and Mumbai from 31 January 2014 and the permanent closure of seasonal routes to Vancouver and Cape Town from 11 October 2014 and 26 April 2015. There’s more information here.